Primary Source
International | East Europe | Poland
[P|S|M]
18th/19th C. | Germany | Second Kaiserreich
[P|S|M]
Protest of the Russian Government against the Austro-German proclamation of Nov.6, 1916, respecting Poland
(The Times, November 17, 1916)

The German and Austro-Hungarian Governments, taking advantage of the temporary occupation by their armies of a part of Russian territory, have proclaimed the separation of the Polish districts from the Russian Empire and their constitution as an independent State. The object of our enemies is evidently to obtain recruits in Russian Poland to supplement their armies.
The Imperial Government regards this action on the part of Germany and Austria-Hungary as a fresh and gross infringement by our enemies of the fundamental principles of international law, which prohibit the population in militarily-occupied territory being forced to raise armies against its own country. The Imperial Government regards this action as null and void.
Russia, since the beginning of the war, has already twice expressed her views on the whole Polish question, (p.142) and her intention is to create a complete Poland embracing all Polish territories, which will enjoy the right when the war is ended of freely regulating their national, intellectual and economic life on a basis of autonomy under the sovereignty of Russia, and of maintaining the principle of a united State. This decision of his gracious Majesty the Emperor remains unshakable.


R.B. Mowat, Select Treaties and Documents 1815-1916, Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1916, pp.142-143

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